Junior DB Ashton White leaves Notre Dame football team

Mike Vorel
South Bend Tribune

Ashton White is leaving, though he isn't really leaving.

White — a 5-foot-11, 197-pound junior defensive back — announced on Twitter on Wednesday that he will not be a member of the Notre Dame football team this fall, though he plans to remain enrolled and finish his degree.

"I would first like to thank Coach (Brian) Kelly for the opportunity to play the game I love at such a wonderful institution such as Notre Dame," White tweeted. "However, I will not be with the team this fall as I focus on some ambitious academic goals of mine."

White added that he plans to graduate this spring and then transfer to another program, where he will complete a master's degree and have two seasons of remaining football eligibility.

After sitting out the 2015 season, White appeared in six games last fall, finishing with two tackles. The Washington, D.C., native was moved from the cornerback position to safety last spring but failed to effectively climb the Irish depth chart.

Without White, the Irish grow increasingly thinner in the back end of first-year defensive coordinator Mike Elko's 4-2-5 defense.

Barring any further departures or position changes, and assuming senior Drue Tranquill remains the team's starting Rover, Notre Dame will have seven safeties on its roster when fall camp opens on Aug. 1: juniors Nick Coleman and Nicco Fertitta, sophomores Alohi Gilman, Jalen Elliott and Devin Studstill, and freshmen Isaiah Robertson and Jordan Genmark Heath.

Gilman — a highly touted Navy transfer — will not be eligible to play in 2017, unless the NCAA rules to award him eligibility.

Notre Dame currently has one safety commit — consensus four-star Georgia product Derrik Allen — in its 2018 recruiting class.

Nothing but grateful.. God's plan is bigger than mine pic.twitter.com/mtVInndpTM

— Ashton White (@awhiteuno) July 19, 2017